This blog is part of my series about my experience in the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls beta.  Obviously, the beta is over and the RoS expansion has been released now.  I’m not quite ready to start blogging about the expansion.  For me, it is too soon, and I don’t want to accidentally blog any “spoilers”.  This gives me time to go ahead and finish up blogging about my thoughts as I was playing the RoS beta.

I was playing a female Crusader named Joan.  In the previous blog, Joan the Crusader hit Level 20.  She was somewhere inside what I think of as “Leoric’s torture chamber” – my least favorite part of the game.  This blog is about her adventure from Level 20 to Level 21.  Most of the screenshots you see here were taken on January 10, 2014.  Some of the later ones were taken on January 11, 2014.  The clock flipped over from one day to the next while I was playing.

Wait, a minute.  That’s definitely not New Tristram!  Joan the Crusader, and her Follower, Lyndon the Scoundrel, were actually standing in the Halls of Agony, Level 2 when this screenshot was taken.  I’ve no idea what made it go all wonky like that – but I find in amusing!  A little “quirk” of the beta, I guess.

I didn’t take very many screenshots while in this part of the game.  Mostly, I just try and get through it as fast as possible.  There entire “torture chamber” concept makes me nauseous.  The few screenshots I took turned out to be rather meaningful.  There’s Joan the Crusader, standing in the middle of the mob of monsters, ready for battle!  Look off to the side, and you will find Lyndon the Scoundrel, firing arrow from a safe distance away.

They are fighting Despair the Empty (and his friends).  I cannot think of a more appropriately named monster to find in the Halls of Agony.  Seems the unfortunate people who ended up being held captive and tortured here were fighting feelings of “Despair” and “Empty” both emotionally and physically.

Stand on a waypoint, and this lovely map appears!

This new waypoint map replaces the little window that popped up when you stood on a waypoint in the original Diablo III.  I strongly prefer this version!  For the first time, I can see where each location is at in relation to the other places.  It makes so much more sense now!  Previous to this new map, I had no idea that New Tristram was located in the center of the rest of the places that we go to in Act I.  I really like the way the map is drawn.  It reminds me of the drawings in the “cut scenes” in the game and the art in The Book of Cain.

The main reason why the map was updated for the Reaper of Souls expansion was so that it would work well with the new Adventure Mode.  To unlock Adventure Mode, you need to play through all five Acts in Diablo III: RoS.  I didn’t end up making it to Adventure Mode when I was playing the RoS beta.

The next few screenshots are about the “A Stranger in Need” quest.  I’m not quite sure if it officially counts and an event.  Players hear someone yelling for help down in a pit that is near the exit of the Halls of Agony Level 2.  Naturally, Joan the Crusader would go down to help.  Upon arriving, she had to fight a Tormented Behemoth, Horror of the Pit.

It is a pretty good fight.  After you kill the Tormented Behemoth, you can see that their is a large iron maiden behind him.  Open it, and a man named Merhan pops out to thank you for rescuing him.

Merhan: May the gods bless you!  I was certain I was gonna die in there!

Merhan: I heard rumors of vast treasure to be found down here, and damned fool that I am, I believed them.  Don’t know why I thought it might be inside an iron maiden.

Merhan: All I could think of while I was trapped in that horrible darkness was that no one would ever know what had happened to me.

Merhan isn’t what you would call the “sharpest tool in the shed”.  I cannot help but wonder if he learned his lesson from being trapped in darkness inside an iron maiden, or if he eventually met his demise after running into some other dungeon after the promise of treasure.

Joan the Crusader went back New Tristram and spoke with Kormac the Templar.  This resulted in “Friends With Benefits”.  No, it’s not what you think.

Friends With Benefits: Fully equip one of your followers.

Friends With Benefits is an Achievement.  Take a look at the window in the above screenshot that shows Kormac the Templar’s stats.  He is now using a weapon and a shield.  He is wearing two rings, and a necklace, and he has a Templar Relic equipped, too.  Joan the Crusader must have given him one of those items seconds before earning the Achievement.

These last two screenshots were taken in the wee hours of January 11, 2014.  The clock ticked over on me from one day to the next while I was playing.  Those of you that know me well realize that this isn’t an unusual situation for me.  I’m nocturnal.  Moving on, Joan enters the Cursed Hold and meets Queen Asylla.  Poor thing is holding her head in her hand…. because she has been beheaded.  (I’ll save her story for another blog).

Queen Asylla:  I am Asylla – once queen to our beloved Leoric.  My servants and I were consumed by madness.  

Queen Asylla: Now I give you my blessing, champion, to release my people from their eternal torment.

The conversation with Queen Asylla begins a quest.  Go through the jail and release the trapped souls of her people.  Of course, you are going to have to fight a bunch of monsters along the way.  It wouldn’t be any fun if you could just saunter through the jail unimpeded, right?   The game keeps track of how many Prisoners Remains you freed.  Your goal is 6.  Joan had released 4 when she hit Level 21!

The next blog will be about Joan the Crusader’s adventure from Level 21 to Level 22.  She was making some progress.  I found one thing to be very odd, though.  Here she was, at Level 22, and she hadn’t found even one Legendary item yet.  This seemed strange to me because I’d heard so much about “Loot 2.0” and how it was supposed to be dropping lots of Legendaries.  That certainly wasn’t my experience thus far!

My concern was (assuming my experience in the beta matched what the expansion would be like) that new players would become frustrated about not finding any Legendaries by the time they reached Level 20.  Would this cause people to give up, assume nothing had been improved, and quit the game?  At the same time, I realized that I was playing a beta, and that plenty of things could change before the expansion was released.  I was having a lot of fun with the Crusader class, despite the lack of Legendaries.

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